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Q. We are a military family stationed in Germany and have a daughter in college back in the States. She is coming to be with us for Christmas. She is still our dependent and of course has a stateside driver’s license, but not a German license. Is she authorized to drive in Germany while she is here? Her boyfriend is also coming, and he is not a military dependent. Are the rules different for him?

— Hailey’s mom

A. Yes, you can get authorization for both your daughter and her boyfriend to drive while they are with you for Christmas.

All travelers who plan to drive while overseas should obtain an international driver’s license. Both civilian and military individuals — if they are authorized to drive in the U.S. — can drive overseas with an international license.

There is a difference, however, between being authorized simply to drive in a foreign country and being authorized to drive a vehicle that is registered with U.S. Army Europe, more commonly known as USAREUR.

USAREUR has oversight of vehicle registration and driver’s licensing for members of all military branches stationed in Europe. I’m assuming that your family car is USAREUR-registered and that you would like for your guests to be able to drive your vehicle.

Driving a USAREUR-plated privately owned vehicle is a privilege extended conditionally to military members and their families stationed in Europe.

There are two ways to get permission to drive a USAREUR-registered privately owned vehicle:

A USAREUR driver’s license: Families living in Europe are familiar with this little card. To get one, drivers must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and pass a test about local road signs and regulations, as well as an eye screening. To qualify for a USAREUR license, you must be a military member or a dependent of a military member stationed in Europe. A license is valid for five years.A waiver: Officially called "An Exception to Policy Authority to Operate POV" (AE Form 190-IV-R), a waiver is available from the Customs Office at your installation. To get this, you must present the passport and international driver’s license of the guest driver, who must be present along with a sponsor at the customs office. Either you or your active duty spouse can be the sponsor. The information I got from my local Customs Office was that waivers can be issued to both family and friends. The waiver is good for up to 90 days.So, your daughter and her boyfriend can be authorized to drive your car. Your daughter is eligible for a USAREUR license, but her boyfriend is only eligible for the waiver. For a short visit, the waiver is probably the best way to go for both.

If your daughter comes home next summer, though, she may want to obtain a license. Then she will be authorized to drive any time she comes to visit, as long as she has SOFA status.

Before heading overseas, your daughter and her boyfriend should obtain international driver’s licenses. These are available at AAA, and simply require a valid U.S. driver’s license, a passport- type photo and a fee, usually around $20. It’s best to do this in the U.S., because an international license is not valid in the country in which it is issued.

For more information, you can contact the USAREUR driver’s license testing office and the customs office at your installation. More information is also available at the Web site:

Safe travels and Frohe Weihnachten!

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany, where her husband is stationed at Ramstein AB. Send questions or comments to her at


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